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Thought-provoking charity lunch. Stuff to make you smile and cry.

Written by Fiona October 24 2011

Cancer and fitness. Two major topics that most Scots might prefer to think less about were high on the agenda at the recent Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice Business Lunch. While cancer was highly likely to be the subject of various talks and appeals at the charity lunch in the magnificent setting of Glasgow City Chambers, given that the hospice’s objectives are to offer care and support for the dying in their final days, it was also good to hear some great words of wisdom about health and fitness from the guest speaker Sir Craig Reedie.

The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice carry out an enormous amount of spirit-lifting work, caring for Glasgow’s terminally ill and offering a place in which patients can live out their last days in dignity and with specialist support. With a growing requirement  to enhance their services, the hospice is planning to move in 2016 to a purpose-built facility, still on the southside of Glasgow. It will also encompass a specialist palliative care service for young people aged between 15-25 years old.

The hospice was therefore keen to make an appeal to business people attending the annual lunch, once again generously sponsored by chartered accountants Campbell Dallas, for their donations and assistance with fund-raising efforts. The charity already relies on the generosity of many of the city’s business people to provide the funds for their invaluable care but now  the hospice is faced with finding the money to build the future premises. All care is free of charge but annual running costs for the Hospice will reach £4.2 million this year of which £2.8 million must come from fundraising and voluntary donations. Think about the cost per day of £7,000 just to keep the doors of the hospice open and then add on the millions of pounds required to build a new hospice. Perhaps you would like to donate?

An address made by Rhona Baillie, the chief executive at the hospice, including a reference to a young woman who had been cared for at the hospice before she sadly died of caner this year, brought tears to the eyes of many of the 220 diners. Digging deep to offer funds to this invaluable community service was made just that bit easier thanks to Rhona’s heart-felt appeal.

The health of the nation

Thoughtful words: Sir Craig Reedie

Thoughtful words: Sir Craig Reedie

There was another poignant point made by  Sir Reedie, who is Vice President of the British Olympic Association. Having led the 2012 London Olympic Games bid, Reedie was also well-placed to share his views on the 2014 Commonwealth Games, as well as the “health of our nation”.

As I have written about on so many occasions in press and on-line articles there can be no underestimating the striking link between an overweight and unfit nation and the rising numbers of cancer sufferers. Of course, not all cancers are related to a lack of fitness but it is so often revealed by medical experts that staying fitter and maintaining a healthy weight can help to increase everyone’s life expectancy and good health, while decreasing one’s likelihood of suffering with illness such as heart disease and some cancers.

In addition to leaving a “physical legacy without price”, including economic, tourism and infrastructure benefits, Sir Reedie said he is  hopeful that  the games will encourage more young people to become involved in sport.

“These Games, both in London and Glasgow, offer great legacies for our people and our cities,” he said. “There will be the physical and business legacies and also the legacy of increased sporting enthusiasm. I hope that these big events will go a long way to encourage young people into sports. I can’t imagine anything else being able to do this with such power.

“And the rewards of encouraging more youngsters into sport will surely be the health benefits. We are aware that Glasgow, for example, has one of the lowest life expectancies in Europe, but we can help to improve this if more people take up sport and exercise.”

The lunch raised £10,000 for the hospice, and will have left many of the guests with a lot to think about.

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